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October 29, 2006

Geek out time: Quantum Physics

In physics, wave-particle duality holds that light and matter can exhibit properties of both waves and particles. But how can this be?

This is one of the most mind boggling videos I have watched and it interests me immensely because of the section on interference patterns. Although the video is talking aobut quantum physics, interference patterns show up in the underwater world of sonar because of the Lloydd Mirror Effect- basically, sound is reinforced or cancelled out by sound waves of inverse proportion.

Light and matter makes interference patterns also in this dual slit experiment however, when the process is observed, the particles behave differently- like they know they are being watched!

Enjoy.

October 25, 2006

My first MGT 645 assignment... very lame subject matter

Enron Executives- Flight of Fancy

There are several distinct tipping points throughout history for people to learn from: military strategists have Vietnam, archaeologists have Lucy, and managers have Enron. Enron will forever go down in the annals of managerial and accounting practices as the single most costly scam to affect thousands of people, even the economy itself! Enron has been compared to a classic Greek tragedy of historical proportions. Some people claim the Enron scandal was born out of the constructs of good old fashioned American capitalism or from the deregulation of California’s energy policies. In reality, the whole despicable scandal can be boiled down to one thing- greed.

Enron was a company that dealt less with substance than with reputation. It sold energy, a commodity it did not produce but bought and then sold. Enron actually traded in more than 800 commodities, ranging from lumber and steel to bandwidth and weather risk management. California legislature deregulated the energy industry in hopes that the law of supply and demand would create fair prices for both gas and electricity. Instead, it gave Enron free reign to a market in high demand and very soon Enron was involved in one of the most blatant forms of manipulation to include asking electric companies to “unexpectedly” take their power plants off line.

From 1995-2000 Fortune Magazine named Enron the “most innovative company in corporate America”. Evidently they were a little too innovative. Having the state of California’s energy supply in the palms of their hands wasn’t good enough for Enron executives. Blinded by the same driving force that causes people to buy lottery tickets, Enron executives setup fake companies overseas, cooking their financial books to extract every last bit of profit from the company. Coincidentally, none of those companies showed up on the books but bought off much of Enron’s piling debt.

Enron executives went about their day like nothing was going on, shaking hands, making small talk to employees, even urging them to buy more of Enron’s stock. Even when wind of dubious accounting practices made it to Enron employees upper management assured worried employees that their stock and 401K’s would be fine. In fact, Enron passed company policy stating no employee under the age of 54 could sell their stock.

Kenneth Lay, Jeffery Skilling, and Andrew Fastow concocted a complex web of schemes to keep Enron’s stock high but in the end they just slowed the inevitable. They spent the better part of 2001 selling off their stock all the while telling their employees to hold onto theirs and even going so far as to lie about the company buying more stock. In the beginning of 2001 Enron’s stock sold for $80 a share. By the time Enron executives were caught with their pants down, Enron’s stock was on the floor too at only 30 cents a share.

Total monetary loss was $600 billion and big investors and pension funds bore the brunt of the losses. Surprisingly, it was the big investor fraud that landed the executives in the courtrooms and not the loss of thousands of pension funds of former Enron employees. An employee that worked for Enron for 15 years at the beginning of 2001 held about $100k of company stock. By the end of the year the stock was worth $80.

Lay and Skilling were not found guilty of the most heinous of their actions- destroying thousands of retirements, price gouging California residents billions in utilities, or even looting Third World companies. They weren’t found guilty because they were never convicted of those charges. It is generally not regarded as a crime by our judicial system and courts allow companies to ditch employee pension plans (deferred wages) with no consequences.

Trying to swindle big banks is another story and is punishable by law. Sixteen Enron executives have plead guilty to fraud including Michael Kopper who plead guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud and will have to pay back more than $12M in assets. In March of 2005 Bernie Ebbert’s honest idiot defense failed and he was convicted of fraud. In fact there are several key executives in the Enron scandal facing many many years in prison. Kenneth Lay, the former CEO and Chairman of Enron, was convicted of 6 counts conspiracy. It was Lay’s ego that got him convicted and Divine Justice, perhaps, that got to him before his sentencing. Lay died of a heart attack early July 2006 while he was vacationing in Aspen. Skilling was just convicted of little more than 2 years in prison- not a very encouraging message the courts are sending out to the masses.

The white collar community has always looked the other way when it comes to a little fraud or deception, hardly horrified by the action of the guilty. But Enron’s scandal reached far deeper than most newsworthy matchstick men games and even the ruling elite wanted justice served for the billions of dollars lost through the greed of a few people.

Lord of the Rings alternate gay ending

This is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I can't help laughing everytime, and I mean everytime, I watch it.

Nuke mentality has firm foothold in Navy

There are many great submarine Naval heroes in our 108 years history- CDR Slade Cutter, CAPT John Cromwell, ADM Eugene Fluckey , and Commander Howard Gilmore - officers who reshaped the course of a war, held their shipmates in higher regard than themselves, and made decisions that were based on what’s best for the crew. How I wish to be surrounded by such men and not the clueless, incompetent “leaders” that are doing nothing but shaping their fitreps.

While at sea, submariners are on a steady diet of shit sandwiches. Inherent to life at sea in the nuclear Navy, the stresses of keeping the water outside of the boat, preventing collisions with other vessels, and the routines of drills, maintenance, and training all contribute to the Dagwood-sized sandwich we are forced to choke down. After 4 years a sailor is supposed to be able to go to shore duty and shake off the rigors of sea duty. It is a time to relax, spend some well deserved time with family, and burn some of that leave that has been heaping up.

It is with a certain degree of expectation that anyone stationed at a shore command in Pearl Harbor, HI can make 10:00 a.m. tee times, start/finish higher education programs, and travel to the other islands unhindered by the constraints of anything remotely resembling the boat mentality.

Wrong.

The nuclear mentality has now made its way into the sanctity of shore duty. All the things I hated about Nuke officers have now followed me and have turned the best shore duty assignment one could ever hope for into an entity that resembles a submarine sans mooring lines.

"How bad can it be, Trickish Knave? You are still on shore duty and you go home every night. You’re not at sea so suck it up." True dat. But does that mean we are to needlessly endure ridiculousness to the nth degree just because we aren’t at sea? I say "Nay nay." Hell, why should people on sea duty endure needless ridiculousness? Random rules and regulations, or policies and procedures promulgated merely for the sake of change or ‘theory to practice’ erodes the morale and well being of the crew, whether at sea or on shore. Change is good, don’t get me wrong. The Navy has made some excellent changes for the better in the last 20 years. It seems like for every step forward the Navy makes to make things better, however, a local policy sets it two steps back.

I started to cite specific examples of what I am talking about but I started to irritated and I felt a headache brewing. It may seem like a petty rant but I cannot expect people to understand, unless of course they are sailors or anyone who has dealt with this type of living/working environment. There has always been an inalienable truth in the military in respect to idiot coworkers- either you or he will transfer and you won’t have to deal with him for more than 4 years. What a shame that another idiot just ends up taking his place.

October 23, 2006

Living among the history

My mother-in-law forwarded me an email that had the following 17 pictures of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I have been to the Arizona Memorial several times but do not recognize any of the shots she sent. I am planning on priting the shots out and giving them to the Chief Historian at the Memorial.

Many of the images show enemy planes still in the air, our planes and ships on fire, and unidentified structures exploding. They are very chilling for me to look at as I can easily identify specific parts of the harbor, parts that I have riden through while on a tour boat or the inbound/outbound submarines I have been attached to. The pictures represent a definitive result of what can happen if intelligence is doubted, defenses are lowered, and foreign policy is ineffective.


















October 20, 2006

Hubble's greatest image... well, one of them...



Hubble's Deepest View of the Universe Unveils Bewildering Galaxies across Billions of Years

What did the first galaxies look like? To help answer this question, the Hubble Space Telescope has just finished taking the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the deepest image of the universe ever taken in visible light. Pictured above, the HUDF shows a sampling of the oldest galaxies ever seen, galaxies that formed just after the dark ages, 13 billion years ago, when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age. The Hubble Space Telescope's NICMOS and new ACS cameras took the image. Staring nearly 3 months at the same spot, the HUDF is four times more sensitive, in some colors, than the original Hubble Deep Field (HDF). Astronomers the world over will likely study the HUDF for years to come to better understand how stars and galaxies formed in the early universe.

Representing a narrow "keyhole" view stretching to the visible horizon of the universe, the Hubble Deep Field image covers a speck of the sky only about the width of a dime 75 feet away. Though the field is a very small sample of the heavens, it is considered representative of the typical distribution of galaxies in space, because the universe, statistically, looks largely the same in all directions. Gazing into this small field, Hubble uncovered a bewildering assortment of at least 3000 galaxies at various stages of evolution.

The field is so small that only a few foreground stars in the Milky Way lie within it; thus, almost all of the 3,000 objects in the image are galaxies, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. By revealing such large numbers of very young galaxies, the HDF has become a landmark image in the study of the early universe, and it has been the source of almost 400 scientific papers since it was created.


As the universe expands, more distant objects recede from the Earth faster, in what is called the Hubble Flow. The light from very distant galaxies is significantly affected by doppler shifting, which reddens the radiation that we receive from them. While quasars with high redshifts were known, very few galaxies with redshifts greater than 1 were known before the HDF images were produced. The HDF, however, contained many galaxies with redshifts as high as 6, corresponding to distances of about 12 billion light years [2]. (Due to redshift the most distant objects in the HDF are not actually visible in the Hubble images; they can only be detected in images of the HDF taken at longer wavelengths by ground-based telescopes.)

October 18, 2006

Traitorous lawyer gets slap on the wrist

I sent a letter to Judge Koetle, who has just appeased terrorism in the most sickening way, admonishing him to exert the maximum allowable punishment on former lawyer and scumbag Lynn Stewart. Normally, 'lawyer' and 'scumbag' are found in the same sentence but for this woman there are different circumstances.

Stewart smuggled messages from her client, a terrorist who was in jail, to his terrorist buddies. The judge said her crimes had "potentially lethal consequences" and called them "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct." He then proceeded to give her 30 months in prison, which she can appeal (while she remains a free person). Remember the old Cheech and Chong courtroom skit?
"Bailiff. Whack his pee-pee!"
Instead of getting 30 years in prison, which the prosecutors wanted, for betraying her country, Stewart gets a sentence that amounts to little more than a joke. But could we expect anything less from a Clinton appointed judge?

Judge Koetle reduced Stewart’s sentence for a few reasons. “Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Koeltl said. By defending homegrown miscreants, cop killers and terrorists? Good one judge.
But why would Stewart defend people who use violence to spread their message?

“I don't believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence”

Hmm, that sounds really familiar. Who advocates violence to change the status quo… that’s right, terrorists!

Stewart’s attorneys brought her recent diagnoses of breast cancer to the attention of the judge citing it would be a death sentence to send her to jail for 30 years. What? She is dying any way so what relevance is it that she will die in prison?
Of course, Stewart and her ardent supporters--not to mention the far Left generally--have made an art of alleging that government measures to protect us from terrorists and terrorist supporters are unnecessary, unconstitutional, evil, or all of the above.
Meanwhile, the country she hates so much has been remarkably good to her. Stewart has carried on relatively undisturbed for years, and now that she's taken her political lawyering too far she has hardly been treated cruelly. In fact, the judge in this trial threw out an earlier indictment on the grounds that the statute was too vague, and now the government is forced to prove that she knowingly aided terrorist violence, not just that she provided material support to a terrorist group. And there's more: All of Stewart's legal fees are being paid for by the government, at taxpayer expense.
She also braggged about her acting skills as she relayed information from her client to his thugs saying, "I can get an award for it" which was translated to the Sheikh: "She is saying, Your Eminence, that she can get an award for acting (all three laugh)."

She talked tough back then but when it came to the sentencing she was reduced to her true self- a coward who threw herself at the mercy of the court just like the terrorist scum she defends. It worked and we can thank the judge who sends the message that nothing will really happen to traitors.

She asked the judge to let her live her life out
"productively, lovingly, righteously." And what did Stewart have to say after her sentencing?
As my clients say to me, 'I could do that standing on my head.'

Outside court, Stewart said she thought the sentence was "a victory for doing good work all one's life." She added: "You get time off for good behavior usually at the end of your prison term. I got it at the beginning."

You see, we fear jihadist beheadings more than the jihadists (and their supporters) fear our courts.

October 16, 2006

Shake, rattle and roll

It was quite a wake up Sunday morning as my bed was shaking like a frat house bed on homecoming night. Hawaii had experienced its hardest earthquake in 20 years and it showed. The islands experience thousands of earthquakes a year but many of them aren’t even noticeable except by seismographs. This is only the second earthquake I have felt (that I can remember, that is. As a child living in CA my mother tells me we had them all the time), the last one was when I was in Guam.

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake sent our son running into our bedroom with eyes as wide as saucers. My wife grabbed him and I rolled over our 3 month old daughter who was in bed with us. The whole ordeal lasted about 25 seconds. I thought it was fun and didn’t panic; my wife, a California resident for most of her life, dismissed it as if the quarter had just run out of the vibrating bed in a cheap motel.

I got up and surveyed my living room and the only proof of a shakedown was a cigar tube that had rolled onto the floor from my computer desk. I had enough time to look off my lanai and see people from the surrounding apartment buildings standing in the rain, talking on their cell phones and swimming in the complex pool. Our fire alarm went off, and feeling it was set off in panic, perhaps form our 5-points-away-from-being-legally-retarded resident manager, I went out into the darkened hallway only to see a few scared people fleeing their apartments and running down the stairwell. I thought, "You’ve got to be kidding me."

I went back to my apartment and shortly thereafter the fire alarm secured and then the power went out. I thought it was odd that the power went out so long after the quake. Listening to our radio we heard the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) rep try to backpedal his way out of explaining why. I think someone just panicked and tripped off the 15-story generators. It would be in keeping with the inadequate emergency responses this state has towards natural emergencies. Remember the 43 days of rain we got earlier this year? Out dated sewage lines were bursting all over the island.

This state just doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy when it comes to big emergencies, especially when little things like trucks running into overpasses shut down the state highways for hours on end. The residents are ill prepared for these things too. Perhaps it is because the island mentality precludes any sense of instinct or spatial reasoning; perhaps they are just that dumb. People called the radio station wondering where they can get something to eat, business were calling in plugging their wares and one guy called in to plug his huli-huli chicken stand which was later shut down by the police because of traffic concerns. So after a major event like this, these people are worried about her stomachs? I do have to give credit to the radio show hosts who came into work to keep everyone informed of the goings-ons. One was making coffee and the other was on the golf course lining up a putt. I don’t normally listen to Perry and Price but yesterday I had no choice.

I finally had to stop listening to the radio because I was getting madder as the morning progresses- someone called in and actually praised God for the earthquake, giving Him all the glory and honor. Because God has nothing better to do than send a 6.5 earthquake centered 9 miles NNW of Hilo. Surprisingly, we didn’t get our first Civil Emergency message until 10:00- 3 hours after the earthquake. Yep, those Civil Defense guys are all over that. It took them that long to get a message out to only ONE radio station that was working. One. There were people sitting in their cars listening to the radio because they didn’t have a battery powered one in their house. This island has a hurricane season, which we have just entered, and these people aren’t even prepared for that.

We had water in my building until 1:00 p.m. and then the reservoir went dry. Power was restored to some parts of the island at about 2:00 p.m. and I had water again at 4:00. We filled up as many containers as we could so we had enough to last for a few days but I will go restock our bottled water supply to have more on hand. In fact, I am going to restock all my camping gear.

I was taken back when a Vietnamese caller asked if he could give an update to all the Vietnamese people who are listen to the station. After his blurb I wondered why someone who didn’t know English would be listening to the radio anyway. After that a Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, and Korean person called in to do the same. For those people who are products of the Hawaiian school system, a local called in and gave a translation in pidgin. One of the morning show hosts made a comment that the Emergency Broadcast System should put out the 3 hour late information in different languages because of the diversity here in Hawaii. What? There is a lot of tasty diversity here- Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and the locals who speak in pidgin- and the Civil Defense Service is supposed to hire translators for each of these languages? Perhaps now would be a great time to learn just a little bit of English so you can get information that will, oh, I don’t know, keep you alive in case of an emergency?

On the bright side, the National Guard was already setup this weekend for their drill weekend. If they were needed it would have been a quick deployment. Although I cna't imagine the chaos and pandemonium had this earthquake happened at 7:09 a.m. on a Monday morning. There is no doubt doubt I would have been stuck in our elevator on my way to work.

At about 3 a.m. 95% of the island had power and the ordeal came to an end. Besides the discomfort of no power for 17 ½ hours, (NYC residents are probably laughing at this outage) my biggest complaint was that Starbucks had to milk this morning for my venti vanilla latte. They had soy but I kindly refused- that being the absolute worst that could happen in this "disaster"- having to drink a soy latte. Luckily, the Golden Arches, as usual, were on the ball and to celebrate the survival of Shakedown ’06 I had a number 1 with my large coffee. Reflecting on the last 24 hours I have come up with a lesson learned list.

1. People in Hawaii are retarded. Stay off the phones, stay off the roads. That was the message from the Civil Service. People were calling in with less than funny anecdotes, car accidents, and birthday party cancellations. The cell towers operate on backup battery power and every unneeded phone call drains that power so that when a real emergency comes up it can’t get through because of high call volume. A lady called in and said she was on the Waianae coast to see if the tsunami was going to hit. Yes, she was on the beach after an earthquake to see the tsunami roll in. There are several parts to that sentence that reveal a cosmic disregard for Mother Nature and common sense, and if I have to explain it to you then you need to spend two hours in a garage with your car engine running. This jackass was on the wrong side of the island to see the tsunami anyway.

2. Hawaii cannot cope with an emergency in a reliable amount of time. Every time something happens this place acts like it is the first time it has ever happened in the history of the world. A 6.5 quake rendered the airports, roads, and businesses useless. People in CA are laughing at us. HECO uses 3 15-story generators to proved power but when they tripped offline the smaller generators then tripped offline to prevent an overload. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? When something ridiculous happens on the island I am reminded of a comment a local made in a Hawaii Pacific University class- “Don’t bring your mainland ways here!” What ‘ways’ are those, my simple minded friend- electricity? power generation? power distribution? The things other states on the mainland have mastered through experience are dismissed as ‘mainland ways’, voodoo, Santa Ria, things that this state has to figure out on its own. We had one radio station running and didn’t get a Civil Defense update for 3 hours after the fact.

3. I need to keep my camping gear stocked. I had a grill and one propane mini-tank for our dinner last night- beans, broccoli and cheese, and some turkey Italian sausage. Not bad for a candle lit dinner with no power. This event has reinforced my preparedness initiative for the upcoming hurricane season. We were prepared but we weren’t over prepared.

4. Starbucks needs to have a way to preserve milk. Are we living in the stone ages? Unless you’re in the Middle East (the last bastion of the Dark Age mentality) there is no excuse to have your main source of making a latte tasty go bad. And what the heck is up with soy? Did an employee bring a few containers of soy in this morning or can soy survive unrefrigerated? Either way, it is an abomination.

I can’t wait until the next natural disaster to see which one of Hawaii’s disaster relief infrastructures collapses under the weight of the absence of those evil main land ways. These people act like they don't live less than 200 miles away from 2 of the most active volcanoes on the planet.

October 13, 2006

Michael Ramirez



To the Republicans, Foley is a lech and a creep, guilty of improper relationships with pages leaning towards the harsh crime of sexual harrassment. To the Democrats, Foley is guilty of being a Republican. This is has a political stench, like a dead animal you can't see, or the elsusive smell of dogshit on someone's shoe.

Take advantage of this as long as you can Democrats, because the steam is going to run out and you will be left with a pathetic list of candidates vieing for the Oval Office.

/hat tip Mike Lief

October 11, 2006

Navy Spot

One of the funniest 'commercials' I've heard in a while- sure to boost those USN recruiting figures for next year!

October 7, 2006

Luna

There are only one or two days a month when the moon is in full phase and is visible from my lanai for any observable amount of time. Perhaps it is the impending retirement from the Navy that can be seen just over the horizon, thus giving me due cause to leave this island state, that now focuses my senses on my surroundings.

It was my 3-year old son who first noticed the moon tonight and called attention to it as I was reading the first chapter from Compensation Management in a Knowledge-Based World, required reading for my grad class. But it wasn’t until he was asleep and my 2 month old daughter was, yet again, hanging off my wife’s breast that I went out and really looked at Earth’s oldest satellite.

The moon was already 20 degrees over the horizon and illuminating the Ko’olau Mountains and the perpetual cloud canopy, that seems to tease me by only allowing a partial view of the erosion carved mountain tops, cling to the many crevasses in its nightly resting place. The mountains appear as more of a silhouette as I follow the trail of neighborhood lights up the one of the ridges closest to my vantage point. I started to pinpoint the tops of trees, perhaps fruit bearing and the residents would enjoy a tasty mango harvest a few times a year, and could easily see headlights winding their way up and down the ridge roads. The windward side of the Ko’olau’s reveals a vista scene straight out of a travel agency ad as I drive past little patches of rain forest, complete with banana, coconut, and mango trees.

I truly live in a paradise, in the strictist sense of the word, because nature seems to enlighten every sense with her soft caress. I can smell the occasional wind carried scent of bougainvillea tonight. When the mango trees are in season (ok, I really like mangoes) the sweet scent of a peach like fruit makes its way across the island carried by the trade winds. An occasional detour from my route to work seems to just make everything ok with a short but savored moment of aromatherapy from the many flowers that grow along the road. I distinctly recall plucking a petal-riddled 2 foot branch off a bougainvillea vine to give to my wife (my girlfriend at the time, although ‘girlfriend’ seems a little sophomoric considering I was 32 at the time) and sprinkling the flower petals on top of her bed. It smelled better than any over priced pot pourri from Pier One.

The occasional rain shower makes me feel like the old man who sits on his front porch and exclaims with a prophetic tone, “Rain’s a comin’.” Although it is always raining somewhere on this island it seems like the area I live in only gets it at night or in the early morning hours as I ride my motorcycle to work.

The cultural diversity forces its way onto my senses as I catch the aroma of Asian food cooking somewhere in my apartment building. A late day at work will bring me home as residents are cooking foods that evoke a Pavlonian response as soon as I get off the elevator. Smell has always been a strong trigger for reminiscence for me and I am always teleported to Pusan, Korea walking down Texas Street, very inebriated, and stopping at the numerous sidewalk carts to chow down on mandoo, Korean BBQ chicken skewers, and the egg-ham-cheese sandwich, the latter eaten only as a courtesy to compliment their attempt at American food.

I think that the one thing I will miss is the salty air; perhaps the sailor in me craves it, my sinuses revel in it. I have found that the only place I don’t smell the ocean is when I am driving to the North Shore and the salty mists are replaced by the sweet aroma from the pineapple fields. It takes a lot of willpower for me to pass up the Dole plantation and not stop in for a pineapple whip, a delight God made on the 8th day of his creation streak.

Of course, right on queue, all of these memories and smells, as I stand on my lanai watching Luna rise farther above the mountains, are interrupted by a jackass riding a moped with the muffler ripped off. Only then do I hear the bus that is rumbling down my street, the family of Filipino’s who live below me laughing as they sit on their lanai, and the random screaming, whistling, and horn honking.

Bastards.

October 6, 2006

Whoops, sorry, you don't appear to be a terrorist after all.

Can we just get one thing to work right in this GWOT, please?
Hundreds of millions of people each year are screened against the lists by Customs and Border Protection, the State Department and state and local law enforcement agencies. The lists include names of people suspected of terrorism or of possibly having links to terrorist activity.
If you happen to have the same name as an international terrorist who has been blacklisted by TSA, or the aforementioned agencies, then you will suffer, at minimum, a rather lengthy delay or, worst case, be sent to Syria for a year and tortured for no reason.

"Whoops! Our bad. Please don't sue us."

It is distressing that we are still working out kinks in our complicated system of protection erected to prevent the terrorists from gaining any ground.

The Debate Link provides an alternative to the recent detainee treatment bill passed last week and has at least given me pause to stop and reflect on that bill. I encourage you to read it here and a follow-up post here.

I think we have a long way to go before we get things figured out, at least to an extent that at least makes everyone a little less skeptical about our government policies.

Welcome to the Democratic Party

My lazy attempt at a post on this Aloha Friday.

I have a sinking feeling that if the elections were to happen right now the Republicans would lose their asses, the House for sure, and be left standing there sucking their thumbs. They may still come November. But 33 days is an eternity in the political world of scandal and we are already seeing the steam gauge starting to drop on the Foley mess.

I read the following article in TNMJ and it gives me hope that the Republicans can still yet salvage their elections. People are smart, they get distracted easily, but I think that come November, the best people will win. I have my hat ready with a bottle of Frank's just in case I am wrong.

-----------------------------------------------------

Welcome to the Democratic Party
The Fifth Column Seth Swirsky
October 5, 2006

It took less than a week for Nancy Pelosi – who stuck up for President Bush when Hugo Chavez used the United Nations forum to call him a “devil” and a “liar” in front of the world – to revert to her true self. Just a few days after arguing that Chavez’s attacks were unwarranted, Pelosi herself was back to making similar attacks, calling the president a liar (“Tell the truth to the American people”), inept (“Let’s…clean up the mess you have made in Iraq”) and delusional (“Face the facts…you have not been in touch with reality”). It showed that the woman who would be House Majority Leader if the Democrats are empowered in November to be not only insincere but, in her rhetoric, much more sympathetic to the President of Venezuela than to the President of the United States.

Welcome to the Democratic Party.

The movie that the Democratic leadership chose to condemn vociferously last month was not the Toronto Film Festival’s award-winning “Death of a President,” which vividly depicted President Bush’s mock assassination but, instead, “The Path to 9/11,” which factually documented why Bill Clinton didn’t assassinate Osama bin Laden. The silence of the Democrats (except for Hillary Clinton) over “Death of a President” makes clear that Democrats don’t care that the movie could inspire a deranged person to carry out such an act. But say something about “their” leader, Bill Clinton, and you just may have your broadcast license revoked!

Welcome to the Democratic Party.

"As an American, I’m glad that gas prices are down, the economy’s doing well, and that, for all intents and purposes, we’re at full employment. Unfortunately, what’s good for America is bad for Democrats, who care more about beating Bush than they do about beating inflation or bin Laden."

Republican representative Mark Foley resigned over his reprehensible conduct with House Pages. He received no support for his actions from his Party’s leadership. Yet Democrats rushed to make it a partisan issue instead of what it is – an isolated incident that has no bearing on the political scene. How is it portrayed on a leading liberal website, The Huffington Post? They posted Foley’s salacious e-mails on its front page, in huge type, exploiting every last drop of a sorry episode.

Welcome to the Democratic Party.

Last June, I joined millions of Americans who were relieved when our forces killed Al Qaeda’s field commander in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Yet, the sense of dejection on the Left was palpable because it made the true purveyors of evil in their warped view –Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld – look good! Instead of a resounding, “Good job, Mr. President, in America’s War on Terror,” all they could say was: “But, where’s Osama?”

As an American, I’m glad that gas prices are down, the economy’s doing well, and that, for all intents and purposes, we’re at full employment. Unfortunately, what’s good for America is bad for Democrats, who care more about beating Bush than they do about beating inflation or bin Laden.

And Democrats wonder why they haven’t controlled the House, the Senate or the White House in years. Part of the reason is that their demeanor has been deplorable. While Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Scoop Jackson, and Sam Nunn knew how to play hardball politics, it would be unimaginable for them to behave so callously – during wartime – towards the president of the opposition party. Judging by liberal Joe Lieberman’s loss to Ned Lamont in August, none of these aforementioned icons would be welcome in today’s Democratic Party.

Back in 1994, Republicans captured the House with their Contract With America, a set of positive principles designed to make our country stronger. But with Democrats -- should they regain power -- poised to impeach the president, undermine every effort in the War on Terror and sure to effectuate gridlock on any issue they feel they cannot win outright, their plan is less a Contract With America than a mob-like Contract On America.

Welcome to the Democratic Party.

October 3, 2006

Another Hawaiian Shit Fit


An ad for a cruise company offended some people in Hawaii when they portrayed a statue of the late Hawaiian leader King Kamehameha holding a glass of wine in his outstretched hand. Evidently, some Hawaiians feel that their culture is being disrespected. They demanded a full page apology in the magazine the ad appeared in and sensitivity training for the cruise company’s staff.

I say, "Go shit in a hat." This embarrasses me as a Hawaii resident and here’s why.

The Honolulu Advertiser has several quotes from outraged Hawaiians and also non Hawaiians in the tourism industry. This statement by Wayne Panoke, a member of a Hawaiian culture coalition, had this to say:
When I saw it, I was appalled to think that any company would have the audacity to use our culture in that fashion and especially our icon, King Kamehameha
Perhaps the ad should have had the head of one of their icon’s enemies?

The fall out resulting from the ad is unfortunate; I think the ad is brilliant. It is unfortunate that the perceived insensitivity on the part of Celebrity Cruises has exploded into a full blown political correctness battle because of a small group of people who found offense, not because of an offense against a deity but because your company stands to make money off the ad. Said Panoke:
I know everybody wants business, but are we going to continue to bastardize our culture so that all these other companies can make millions of dollars?

Ah, now we get it. Someone else besides you is making money off a Hawaii icon.

The Hawaiians that are offended are the same small group of people who think Hawaii should be able to secede from the United States because of an illegal takeover by plantation owners at the end of the 1800’s. I have to believe the majority of this island state, or anyone in their right mind, does not take offense to the ad.

I understand the ad company had to give an apology because they offended a group of people, albeit a small but vocal one, but I heard on a local radio station here that the coalition group also demands an ad of the same size with a written apology AND sensitivity training for the staff of the company.

WTF, over?

If an apology isn’t good enough then that is their problem and I doubt the cruise line company will suffer any noticeable loss of revenue because of it. If the company caves in to this self censorship and pressure from a group who reveres their history, so they only they can make a buck off it, then I will not use the cruise line services.

October 2, 2006

Exclusive Gitmo Interview


Very few times have I read someone elses blog and had the urgency to post a trackback. Patterico has an exlcusive interview with an Army Major stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. You know, the place where you can "... eat breakfast 300 yards from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill."

This interview is epic because it is straight from the horses mouth, no main stream media involvement, ie. the truth. A clip from Patterico's site (posted below) says it all. Please bookmark his site and catch all 5 segments of this interview with an Army Major stationed in Gitmo.

The Major goes by the pseudonym Stashiu and was very eager, however careful, to give Patterico the interview. It probably didn't go like Col. Jessup's request-
I can deal with the bullets, and the bombs, and the blood. I don't want money, and I don't want medals. What I do want is for you to stand there in that faggoty white uniform and with your Harvard mouth extend me some fucking courtesy. You gotta ask me nicely.
A good friend of mine was stationed at Gitmo for 6 months and he talked about his experiences, I believe I even posted a little bit of our conversation, but Patterico's interview will be very telling and I am excited to read it.

Here is an excerpt from Patterico's site:

I know Zarqawi, the terrorist said to the American. I am going to have Zarqawi cut off your family’s head while you watch. Then he will cut off your head.

The terrorist said it all in a matter-of-fact way, looking the American straight in the eye.

The American was not frightened. There was little danger that the terrorist was going to carry out his threat . . . at least any time soon.

The terrorist was a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the American was an Army nurse who worked with Guantánamo detainees with psychological and/or behavioral problems. For six months, he spoke with detainees on a daily basis, and built a rapport of sorts with some of the most troublesome terrorists at Guantánamo.

He spoke with me recently, and I will be telling his story in several posts over the coming days.

October 1, 2006

The Old Days

As I was rooting around the top shelf in my overloaded closet I came across my Senior Year book, not the one with all the pictures of my classmates but another one that I contains fill ins for all sorts of stuff. I started feeling nostalgic as I creep up on my 20th reunion in May of 2007.

Here is some eye opening data from page 24, Prices and Fads, filled out in May of 1987:

Gasoline per galloon: .79 unleaded; .76 regular (241% increase)
Favorite jeans: Levi’s $29.95 501’s
Album/Tape: $9.95 I wonder if anyone under the age of 20 has even heard of these?
Favorite snack: $1.05 Twinkie and IBC Root Beer
Favorite Magazine: $3.00 Air & Space Gimmie a break, Maxim hadn’t been printed yet.
Candy bar: $.45 3 Musketeers (.75 now)
Favorite burger: $1.30 McD’s Quarter Pounder (Same fat content, higher price now)
Concert tickets: $12.00 – 15.00 (Bon Jovi in Little Rock)
$75 The Eagles in Honolulu (2005)
Style haircut: $6.00 ($7.00 at the Navy Exchange today)
Large Pizza: $13.50 Not much more these days


Most embarrassing moment: While driving home I drove up along side some girls. As I was trying to catch their eye, I had succeeded but only because I was about to run them off the road. (I looked rather studly in my 1976 Chevette, or ‘Vette for short)

There are tons of stories and pictures of me with friends, and, I almost forgot, a Basketball schedule for that year- we beat our bitter rivals of Vilonia, 15-14. We pissed them off when some of our seniors went to their school and spray painted “Vilonia sucks” on their gym walls. They promptly retaliated the next weekend by spray painting their sentiments about our school and our mothers on our concession stand walls. It was quite the scandal in ’87. As we were playing the game of our lives, a few people went to the bus parking lot and pissed in their busses. Don’t mess with the Panthers, or rednecks for that matter.

I still don’t know if I want to go to my 20th reunion. So far, I have not been able to go to any of them because the Navy has prevented me from doing so, conflicting schedules and "Needs of the Navy", you know. I did get a premier membership to Classmates.com and have received a few emails from old classmates. Meh, I’ll see how I feel about it in April of next year.